The school programs run by the Children of Don Bosco within that context range from basic education for young people with little or no education to more specific programs aimed at helping them enter the workplace. All programs seek to restore the students' dignity and self-esteem and to provide them with concrete skills according to their individual talents.
In the country, which has left its past of racial segregation and violence behind, socio-economic problems are still numerous. The Salesians, present in the country since 1896, are leaders in the fight against poverty and their focus is on street children and children at risk.
Cape Town's "Center of Hope", a home for abandoned young people and a technical-vocational institute, is the only recognized school for street children in the country. Every day, in the center, 40 to 90 children and teens attend classes.
The number fluctuates so wildly because the students show up when they feel like it. The motto of Fr Naughton and other Salesians in the center is: "Everyone can change."
"Teaching these kids is extremely difficult," says Fr Naughton. “They can't stay focused for more than a quarter of an hour." The classes are composed of a maximum of 10 pupils and the level is not comparable to that of other schools. "Nevertheless, here everyone can change," the Salesian reiterates.
The "Learn to Live" program is also active at the center, which works on the didactic aspect and provides the students the tools to finish their cycle of studies by integrating vocational training as well as offering the psychological support that is indispensable for children with a rather troubled past.
The program provides for all the children's needs: from food to medical care, from school expenses to sports and extracurricular activities to emotional support, which the Salesians assure to help the minors regain their self-esteem and serenity. And to cultivate a future of hope.
For more information, please visit: "Don Bosco Missions."